Howard Becker And The Modern Labelling Theory

864 WordsDec 6, 20154 Pages
Howard Becker (1963) is said to be the creator of the modern labelling theory. He is also responsible for the term ‘moral entrepreneur ' which is a term used to describe law making officials, who get certain ‘behavior’ or ‘criminal behavior‘ illegalized. Becker proposed that criminal behavior is dynamic in nature and changes throughout time. He suggests that the actual act has nothing to do with the theory. What matters was the type of people going through the criminal justice system. Becker pays particular attention to how people and society react and operate with those who have the ‘criminal ' label. He says, that once a person has the label of 'criminal ' associated with him or her, it becomes stuck with them and acts as a constant label. This effect is so profound Becker says, that individuals with this label begin to express behavior and associate with the word criminal. That is they, start to act and identify with the label given to them, some may even start to associate with others that have the same or similar labeling. Labeling Theory Labeling theory is the theory of how the self-identity and behavior of individuals may be determined or influenced by the terms used to describe or classify them. It is associated with the concepts of self-fulfilling prophecy and stereotyping. The label of ‘deviant or criminal’ is branded to someone who does not conform to societies rules or moral values. Deviance is not inherent to an act, but instead focuses on the tendency of
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